The era of data revolution: what is it and what to do with it

19 June 2014 by Mark Williams

We’ve been talking about big data for ages. In some circles it’s so overused a phase that it’s become demoded, but what we can’t deny is the fact that we are living, breathing, and engaging with technology practically every moment of the day. But some people love and hate it in equal parts. Why? Because sharing data scares us. However, it’s necessary. Gina Balarin, UK Content Manager for Concur, talks about the data paradox and how businesses can benefit from using it properly.

Loose lips used to sink ships – now they steer them

If you grew up in an era where secrecy was drilled into you as necessary for survival, the last thing you want to do is share volumes of data. The British war slogan “Loose lips sink ships” is memorable, not least for its alliteration, but also because it captures the mind set of an era that is very nearly the opposite of our world today. Now: we share and trade data as a commodity. Literally, in some cases. Think about it – apart from the interfaces that allow us to process and input data (keyboards, screens etc.) we work in a world that is based almost entirely around the exchange of data and information. The biggest tech companies in the world (Facebook, Salesforce, YouTube, Concur etc.) make their money almost entirely off the exchange of prettified information.

The cloud isn’t ‘real’. Technically, it’s simply bits and bytes flying through the ether. But data is important, in fact, critical to business success now, more than ever. And no matter how you feel about the information that’s being exchanged – you need it, to do your job.

Why CFOs should love data

Research findings reveal that the future of the finance function is bright: particularly for those willing to adapt to the changing needs of the business.

Automating and integrating as many processes as possible helps the finance function provide data insights for the business that enable smart spending decisions. In turn, this positions finance as a partner – working together with the business for success. Chief Financial Officers and Financial Directors in the UK are already preparing for 2015 and beyond, bearing in mind the need to have information and how to use it in a way that adds value to the business.

As one CFO interviewed put it: “In finance you have to put yourself at the heart of the business… You have to be a leader of the business, not just a controller. We need tools to help us do the controlling so that we can spend more time adding value through business insight and business analytics instead.”

Data on its own, isn’t enough

Data (all those little bits and bytes) are turned into information which, in turn, requires human intelligence to take it to the next level: insight. And only when insight is used to drive action can the business truly thrive, and prosper, in our digital age.

The data revolution is now. Are you ready for it? How do you manage data within your company?

If you want to get the most of your data, you can start by managing your expenses reporting. Need some help with that? Download “8 Reasons Why You’re Never Too Small to Gain Big Advantages” and learn how automated expenses can benefit your business.

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This blog post was brought to you courtesy of Concur, the global leader in travel and expense management.

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